Stolen Cezanne painting recovered in Serbia

Marko Djurica/Reuters - A Serbian special police officer guards “Boy in a Red Waistcoat” by Paul Cezanne in Belgrade. Police in Serbia recovered the impressionist masterpiece, which was one of four paintings stolen at gunpoint four years ago from a Swiss gallery in one of the world's biggest art heists.

BELGRADE — Police in Serbia have recovered a painting by Paul Cezanne that was stolen at gunpoint from a Swiss museum four years ago, officials said Thursday.

Cezanne’s “Boy in a Red Waistcoat,” which reportedly is worth more than $100 million, was one of four paintings stolen in 2008 from the E. G. Buehrle Collection in Zurich by a trio of masked robbers.

The heist was then one of the largest in the world.

Four men were arrested in Belgrade and the southwestern town of Cacak on Wednesday in connection with the theft, and the Buehrle collection’s director confirmed the authenticity of the painting, the Zurich state prosecutor’s office said.

“Boy in a Red Waistcoat,” thought to have been painted in 1888, depicts a boy in traditional Italian dress wearing a red waistcoat, a blue handkerchief and a blue belt. Three other versions of the French artist’s painting are in museums in the United States.

Two of the stolen canvasses — one by Claude Monet, the other by Vincent Van Gogh — were recovered not long after the robbery, abandoned in a car. A work by Edgar Degas is still missing.

At a news conference, Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said that during the action dubbed Operation Waistcoat, police also seized vehicles, weapons and ammunition.

“I don’t think we have ever had a more valuable arrest,” Dacic said. “The painting will now be guarded by police and returned to its owner.”

Reuters

 
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